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Cannot Diagnose Problem

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Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
February 22, 2010 4:23:11 PM

Hey there everyone,

In July of last year I decided I wanted a new PC, my friend said he knew how to build them and could help me out with them. So we decided to go for it and bought all the components.

I'm not the most technically tuned in person when it comes to PC's so please bare with me.

My Specs:

Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 LGA775 'Yorkfield' 2.83GHz 12MB-cache (1333FSB) Processor - Retail
Gainward GeForce GTX 260 Golden Sample 896MB GDDR3 PCI-Express Graphics Card
Asus P5Q Pro Intel P45 (Socket 775) PCI-Express DDR2 Motherboard
Corsair TX 750W ATX SLI Compliant Power Supply (CMPSU-750TXUK)Corsair Dominator 4GB (2x2GB) DDR2 XMS2 PC2-8500C5 TwinX
Samsung SH-S223QBEBE 22x DVD±RW


Simply for the first six months after I purchased it everything was going great. Nothing wrong, the games were awesome. Then all of a sudden BOOM a blue screen of death... As you do I thought ahh just a BSOD wont happen again and carried on playing as usual. However not long after.. There was another.. Then another.. Until eventually the Blue Screens would get to a point where I could be on the computer for no longer than an hour before getting one.

I have exhausted all possible solutions I could find, but with no success.

The errors I received seem to be random and have no real incite into what exactly is wrong with the PC.

For example, yesterday I received the following errors:

BAD_POOL_HEADER
MEMORY_MANAGEMENT
PFN_LIST_CORRUPT
win32.sys

These were the title messages I received during the blue screen, I have researched definitions for them all and discovered that none of them seem to have anything to do with each other what so ever, further deepening my search for the problem.

If anyone has any ideas, that would be much appriciated.

Cheers,

TJ

More about : diagnose problem

February 22, 2010 5:28:28 PM

I had this exact same issue happen to a friends custom built comptuer recently, and it took us quite a while to figure it out, but we finally got it fixed. First thing we did was replace the RAM. That didn't fix the issue, so we replaced the hard drive...then the motherboard...then the video card...nothing worked. So finally, having inclination that it was STILL the RAM, we replaced the RAM again, and everything worked fine. Not only had the old RAM been bad, but the new RAM as well. It was interesting because multiple memory diagnostic tools showed the old RAM to indeed be bad, but showed the new RAM to be completely fine. However, replacing the RAM one more time DID fix the issue.

Anyways, moral of the story is, it's your RAM. Replace it and see if that fixes your issue.

It's also worth noting that all of the blue screens you're recieveing have to do with RAM.

If for some reason, replacing the RAM doenst work, you might also try replacing your video card, as faulty video card memory can also cause these sorts of issues.
a b B Homebuilt system
February 22, 2010 5:29:05 PM

Actually, TJ, they have at least one component in common, and that's RAM. By default, most motherboards set the RAM voltage to the minimum requirement to "power" the RAM. By power, I mean to turn it on.

When it comes to your system hardware, think of a flashlight on battery power. The batteries are physically there and don't change their size, but the light's brilliance can be reduced when there isn't enough power.

That being said, changing the RAM voltage in the BIOS to what the manufacturer's specs are may fix that BSOD for Memory_Management. Underclocked RAM is actually a common failure in homebuilds because the ones who don't know or don't want to adjust the BIOS just slap the parts together and power up the computer.

I know you've said you've exhausted all possible solutions, but the truth is, since you still have the problem, you haven't exhausted all options.

Since RAM is the most common reason for BSOD, start your troubleshooting there.

1. Remove ALL RAM sticks, and then turn on your computer. Do you hear any beeps?
If yes, then proceed to reinstall the sticks, one at a time in the correct slot according to your motherboard manual.
If no, is the system speaker connected (this is different from audio chipset or sound card)?

If speaker isn't connected, connect it and try again.
If speaker is connected and you don't hear beeps, you may have a faulty motherboard.
Related resources
a b B Homebuilt system
February 22, 2010 5:37:16 PM

2. BAD_POOL_HEADER is also a reference to memory. But in this case, it refers to the smallest memory allocation unit at the hardware level, which is the 'page', which commonly consists of 4096 bytes. kernel and device drivers usually need not (and should not !) allocate large chunks of memory. So obviously a lot of memory would be wasted.

There's a simple solution to this problem: The kernel allocates some pages in advance and combines them into a pool. Whenever a routine requests some memory (less than a page), the kernel will assign it from the pool. The granularity of these assignments is 32 bytes for Windows 2000 and even only 8 bytes from XP onwards.

Each allocation will be preceeded by a small header which helps to keep track of its size and purported owner. This header is called the POOL_HEADER
a b B Homebuilt system
February 22, 2010 5:41:06 PM

3. PFN_LIST CORRUPT means that the system went to swap memory between the RAM and the VRAM on the hard drive, and couldn't. either: Pagefile.sys is not properly addressed.. did you change it's location in the registry? HDD Corruption -- The bad sector is located inside the pagefile.sys (although usually this would just cause a hang) BAD RAM -- (usually would give you a Page Fault Error instead
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
February 22, 2010 6:23:54 PM

Hi T_T,

Thanks for the detailed and quick response, its much appreciated.

I just finished carrying out the test you mentioned in your first reply. I noted that the motherboard did NOT beep when I attempted to boot without RAM. I then continued to see if the Warning Speaker was properly plugged in. From what I can see it appears to be all in its proper place. I cannot see any hanging wires or unplugged cables. So I can only assume at this stage that it is a Motherboard issue. If any further tests are applicable to discover whether or not the motherboard is faulty. Please let me know as I would like to be sure before purchasing a new one or returning this one.

Cheers,

TJ
a b B Homebuilt system
February 22, 2010 6:45:09 PM

TJ,

The next test to perform will not give you a flat out "Yes, the board is bad. Replace it." answer. However, when the decision to RMA or replace any component is at foot, it is best to err on the side of caution.

Download MemTest86+ bootable disc image and burn it to disc. Pop the disc into the computer with potentially bad RAM or bad motherboard. Let the test run for at least 10 passes (this will take about 12 hours) depending on the problems (if any) that are detected.

Once MemTest86+ is finished, you'll know for sure if you've got bad RAM. Remember that just because the RAM will get you into Windows, doesn't mean that there isn't anything wrong with it.

As for the motherboard, there really isn't any test to run to determine if it's faulty. Generally speaking, when the "boot w/o RAM" test fails to yield beeps, it is believed that the board is no good.

In short, if after the memtest shows your memory is good, then you may end having to get a motherboard replacement. However, before you do that, just go through all of the steps in the following troubleshooting guide.

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/261145-31-read-postin...
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
February 22, 2010 7:03:23 PM

Cheers T_T I will give the mem-test a try tonight.

PS. My PC does boot, however it just tends to crash after a few hours.
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
February 22, 2010 8:06:44 PM

A small update that just seems to of popped out of the blue. My computer a momment ago refused to boot with both sticks of RAM in. I then removed one... Still no boot. Then replaced that piece with the other one and Boom, the PC booted. It seems to of suddenly shifted to RAM. Grr back and forth, back and forth. Can someone confirm this may be a solid indicator that the RAM is faulty.

Cheers ,


TJ
February 23, 2010 12:19:21 PM

djg9205 said:

Anyways, moral of the story is, it's your RAM. Replace it and see if that fixes your issue.


Replace both sticks of RAM with new ones and Im willing to bet you will be up and running again. Like I said before, the issue your describing has the EXACT same symptoms as my friend's computer. It started blue screening randomly at first, and a restart would fix it...then more and more often until it wasn't bootable at all. We had those exact same blue screens too.

In fact, I would be interested to find out what exact brand and type of RAM your using, and with what motherboard to see if maybe this an issue with just one particular model of RAM or motherboard.

February 23, 2010 12:22:52 PM

It's also worth noting that running a memtest (multiple different memtests, including memtest86) claimed that the RAM was just fine, so this may not be a definitive indicator of faulty RAM or not. Try new RAM, and if for some reason it doesn't work, you can always return it. (And make sure to set your BIOS RAM settings to the recommened settings to ensure your not underclocking it).
!